Paul Tibbets, Jr. and Enola Gay

November 2, 2007

paul_w_tibbets_usaf_bio_photo.jpgColonel Paul W. Tibbets Jr. died November 1, 2007 at the age of 92 years. He was the pilot of the Enola Gay an American B-29 bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945. At least 80,000 people died instantly with thousands more dying later of radiation sickness.

Nuclear war was introduced to the world. The result was a quick end to the Second World War. The war against Japan lasted from December 7, 1941 until September 1945 when Japan finally surrendered. It took two atomic bombs dropped on Japan to force a surrender. Even then they reluctantly surrendered.

Although horrific events, the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski did finally end the war without having to invade Japan. Military experts generally agree that the eventual invasion of the Japanese homeland would have resulted in a terrible loss of life both for the American invaders and the Japanese defenders. The war would also have lasted at least another two years. The Japanese were fanatical and were fighting to the death. This was illustrated by the blood baths of Iwo Jima and later of Okinawa both of which we parts of the Japanese homeland. One can only imagine the terrible carnage that would have resulted from an invasion of the main Japanese islands.

atomic_cloud_over_hiroshima.jpgPresident Harry Truman approved the plans for the invasion of Japan on June 18, 1945. The initial assault by over 800,000 troops was scheduled to begin November 1, 1945 followed by an attack of 1.2 million troops. It was estimated that it would take over 10 years to wipe out the last pockets of resistance with total American losses of one million men. (Left: Atomic cloud over Hiroshima)

The lasting result was the real fear of the consequences of a nuclear war and what it would do to earth’s civilization. The destruction of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagaski pale in comparison to what a nuclear attack could do today. Modern nuclear weapons are smaller in size, but with many times more destruction power than the small yield weapons dropped then.

485px-tibbets-wave.jpgColonel Tibbets was never proud of the result, but he did his duty in an all-out war. He saved countless lives by completing his mission. Let’s hope that such a mission is never necessary again.

(Left: Tibbets waving from the Enola Gay the day of the mission)

Note: All photos in this article are official U.S Air Force photos and are in the public domain.

Black Cats I Have Known

November 1, 2007

blackcat-lilith.jpgFor far too long black cats have been ostracized. They are not bad luck, nor are they evil. Two of the nicest cats I have owned have been black.

The first one was Felix and he was just the most beautiful cat and so affectionate. Everything about him was to love. One time our family went away for two weeks on vacation. At the time we lived in a mobile home court and had no one to look after him. We did have a partially enclosed porch though, so we left a self-dispensing food and water container for him and a nice warm bed. All of this was out of the weather. When we returned Felix was no where to be found. Several weeks later he showed up out of the blue meowing and talking away. He apparently had been exploring the town and nearby woods. Anyway he must have kept checking back every so often for us. He was so glad to see us and immediately again became part of the family. Eventually he had to be euthanized because of a urinary tract problem common in male cats. He was up in years and had lived a good life.

Tom was another black cat that was adopted. My daughters found him and took him in. He was a beautiful long-hair black cat. So affectionate and friendly. Again another tale of a cat lost and found. He wandered off one time and then they moved. They kept coming back looking for him, but no luck. A year or so later he was spotted in the old neighborhood. They picked him up and asked if I could take him in because they had already gotten another cat. I had a soft spot for old Tom so took him in. He made friends with my cat Zippy and they got along quite well. By this time Tom was getting old. One day I arrived home and walked by the chair where he was curled up. I said hi to him which he usually answered with a deep, friendly meow, this time nothing. A sinking feeling hit me. I went back and carefully stroked him, no response, he was cold and stiff. I lifted him and he was still warm underneath so he must have just quietly slipped away. The end of another fantastic friend.

black_front.jpgSo although black cats have a bad name and are in fact almost never adopted, please if you are looking for a great cat, pick a black one.

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